Very occasionally a guitar comes along at a price that seems less like a purchase and more like a robbery. Whilst scrolling through the classifieds you occasionally come across old Japanese made guitars, which thanks to their slightly bizarre designs sell for far less them more common designs. What you get with often get with these guitars is excellent build quality, woods and some overpowered pick-ups. This Yamaha SC400 is no exception.
Taking inspiration from the classic Fender Stratocaster design this guitar quickly deviates. The body is alder with an ash veneer and the set neck is mahogany with a rosewood board. Something of an odd wood choice which I think gives it a pronounced mid-range bite and sustain. The heavy fixed bridge gives the guitar a real over engineered look but a solid resonance and sustain whilst the tuners are solid despite remaining un-used for years. The body shape fits very comfortable when playing despite its off-set looks and the fat neck makes string bends a breeze.
Anyone who has played some late 70’s/early 80’s japanese built guitars will know how over-wound the pick-ups can be and this guitar is loud. They resemble chunky traditional single coils to the eye but are over-wound with alnico 5 magnets which have far more bite which really drives the amp giving a thicker tone and these excel with medium gain setting. Clean they are fat, punchy and warm. My only criticism is the bridge pick-up is quieter than the rest.
As with any older guitar it has some wear to the frets and at some point the nut has been replaced. Annoyingly two extra strap buttons have been fitted at some-point so it isn’t a museum piece. This guitar for me has great sustain, power and playbility and is going to stay in the permanent collection.
Anyone else feeling the love for this era of Japanese instruments?